NCAA Basketball: Saint Louis Billikens at Duke Blue Devils Picks & Predictions

Saint Louis Billikens at Duke Blue Devils
Saturday, 12/11/10, 12:00 PM EDT, TV:  CBS
Opening Point Spread:  Duke -25
Current Betting Line:  Duke -25
Opening Total:  133.5
Current Total:  131

The Duke Blue Devils are large favorites this Saturday and looking to win their 20th straight game in hosting the Saint Louis Billikens on Saturday

Saint Louis is 3-3 on the season and has posted an 0-11 mark in non-conference road games in Rick Majerus’ three-plus seasons as coach.  The Billikens are averaging 64.8 points per game this season and rank second in the Atlantic 10 in scoring defense, yielding just 57.3 points a contest.  Part of the team’s struggles can be attributed to having just nine scholarship players, as its only three wins on the season have come against Rockhurst, Tennessee State and IUPUI.  Many find this to be the weakest squad during the Majerus-era and only one player averages more than 9.0 points a game on the roster, with Kyle Cassity scoring 11.7 a night.  Saint Louis is 1-5 ATS in its last six games overall and the college basketball lines page has them listed as a big underdog on Saturday.

The Billikens have three wins against top-ranked clubs in the program’s history, with the last triumph coming on March 9, 2000, against Cincinnati in the Conference USA quarterfinals.  Saint Louis is 4-30 against ranked teams over the past 10 years.  The team will be looking for its first victory in this series, as the Blue Devils have captured all three meetings.  The last meeting between the clubs occurred in 1988, with Duke claiming a 69-53 victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium.  It’s important to point out that the team is 38-5 when holding opponents under 60 points under Majerus, which is highly unlikely against a great offensive team in Duke.

Duke has won 19 consecutive games entering Saturday’s contest and is looking to open a season 10-0 for the 13th time under coach Mike Krzyzewski.  The Blue Devils may have a perfect record heading into this game, but many college basketball experts are still more interested in freshman Kyrie Irving’s toe injury that has him out indefinitely.  He was averaging a team-high 17.4 points and 5.1 assists.  “It is serious and whatever final decision is made, it’s going to be based on what’s in his best interests in his career,” Krzyzewski commented.  Despite the absence of its young superstar, Duke picked up an impressive 83-48 win over Bradley last time out.  The squad is 9-4 ATS in its last 13 home games.

The Blue Devils are likely to pick up their 36th straight win against a team outside of the traditional power conferences and also extend their streak to 83 consecutive wins at home over non-conference opponents.  Saturday’s game is also going to mark Coach K’s 200th game while holding the No. 1 ranking in the AP poll.  Duke has also posted a 77-27 all-time record against Atlantic 10 Conference opponents, including a 34-1 mark under Krzyzewki’s direction.  The Blue Devils have won 15 straight games against A-10 competition.

Bettors will be interested in the Billikens 1-5 ATS mark versus non-conference competition, while the Blue Devils are 5-2 ATS against the Atlantic 10 Conference.

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